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    Petit Sale with Lentils and Buttered Cabbage

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    Petit Sale with Lentils and Buttered Cabbage

    Belly is a cheap cut, and once salted, will keep in a zip-lock bag for two weeks in the fridge. The instant it discolours, acquires a slippery surface coating or smells other than sweet, throw it away. Petit salé is good with lentils, soft polenta or mashed potatoes. It is delicious cold with a chickpea salad or in sandwiches.

    Serves: 4


    • 2.3kg piece belly pork including spare ribs
    • Sel aromatisé (aromatic salt)
    • 30g caster sugar
    • 5g sodium nitrite (if in tablet form, use the manufacturer's quantity recommendation)
    • 15g juniper berries
    • 8 allspice berries or 1 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 6 cloves
    • 5 dried bay leaves
    • 500g sea salt
    • Petit salé
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 140g brown onion, peeled, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 350g green lentils, washed
    • 225g tin chopped plum tomatoes
    • 600ml chicken stock
    • 1 bay leaf
    • Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
    • Salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 savoy cabbage, destalked, cut in 4
    • 60g unsalted butter


    1. Wipe a washed large plastic container, work surface and your hands with a baby bottle sterilising fluid before proceeding.
    2. Put all the ingredients for the sel aromatisé, except for the salt, into a food processor and blitz to a powder. Add salt to the powder and blitz to combine for a further 30 seconds. Put about half the aromatic salt in the bottom of the sterilised container. Rub as much of the rest into the meat as you can, working over a tray so you don't waste any of it. Place it skin- side up on top of the salt in the container and pour the remaining mixture over it. Cover with a lid and leave for 7 days in the fridge.
    3. After 7 days, rinse it under the tap, then cover with cold water and leave to desalinate for 24 hours, changing the water 4 times.
    4. Pickling involves an exchange in which the salt is drawn into the meat, and the meat juices exude. The resulting solution can be used for another piece of pork if it is first boiled and 225g salt is added to the brine. The container must once again be washed and sterilised. If you are not cooking the whole piece immediately, wipe the remainder dry with paper towels and refrigerate.
    5. Cut the 2.3 kg piece of salt pork in half, refrigerating half for another meal or cook the whole piece. Because of the joints shape, it will take the same time to cook, whatever the weight. Drain, put in a large pan and cover with 5cm of cold water and bring to the boil. Taste the water after 8-10 minutes and if it is too salty, throw it away, rinse the pan and repeat with fresh water. Return to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 35 minutes, or a total cooking time of 45 minutes.
    6. For the Petit salé - The lentils will take about 30 minutes, but may be kept warm or cooked earlier and reheated. Sweat the onions in the oil over a low heat until soft. Add the garlic, turn up the heat and cook for a further minute before adding the lentils, tomatoes, stock and bay leaf. Add just enough water to cover and cook uncovered for 20 minutes before seasoning. Continue cooking until done, add the parsley and stir in. Keep warm.
    7. When you remove the pork, turn up the heat. When it is boiling fast, add the cabbage and cook for 4 minutes, using a blanching basket if you have one. Drain, return to a clean pan and add the butter and season generously with pepper. Toss to coat.
    8. Put a mound of lentils and their cooking juices in the middle of 4 soup plates. Dress with a little extra virgin olive oil. Carve the pork in thin slices and arrange on top. Put the cabbage in a warmed bowl.

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